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Soviet Union Foreign Affairs 1929 - 1941. Foreign Policy in the 1920s Memories of Civil War –Foreign Intervention British, French, US, Japanese Capitalists.

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Presentation on theme: "Soviet Union Foreign Affairs 1929 - 1941. Foreign Policy in the 1920s Memories of Civil War –Foreign Intervention British, French, US, Japanese Capitalists."— Presentation transcript:

1 Soviet Union Foreign Affairs

2 Foreign Policy in the 1920s Memories of Civil War –Foreign Intervention British, French, US, Japanese Capitalists fundamentally opposed to Communist system Lenin and Trotsky’s World View –Marxism was a global phenomenon –The Revolution had to be exported ASAP Russo-Polish War of 1920 –See-Saw War –Both sides Overextended themselves –Narrowly averted a disaster – allowed Whites to Resurrect Civil War in South of Russia

3 “Comrade Lenin cleans the world of filth.” –The Promise of exporting Revolution COMINTERN set up in 1919 to achieve World Revolution

4 The Bolshevik Dilemma How to deal with the nations of the world –Work to undermine them Or –Develop Diplomatic relations with them Consider advantages/disadvanta ges for both of the them!

5 Development of Soviet Foreign Policy The Revolutionary Period –October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution –February 1918 Cancellation of all Foreign debts –March 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk –Humiliating but a price worth paying according to Lenin –Allows Bolsheviks to consolidate power

6 The Civil War – Foreign Intervention in Civil War –March 1919 COMINTERN established –Apr-Oct 1920 Russo-Polish War –Nov 1920 Evacuation of Crimea

7 G. V. Chicherin Foreign Commissioner Ex-Menshevik and Ex-Aristocrat –Worked for Tsarist Foreign Ministry Educated but emotional –Converted to Bolshevism whilst forcibly sent on holiday to ‘Cure’ his Homosexuality – Chance meeting with Lenin Pro-German –Treaty of Brest-Litovsk –Treaty of Rapallo Anti-British –Had been imprisoned by British 1917 – 1918 for anti-war –Disliked Curzon Advocated policy of engagement –Engage Capitalists in order to stop them uniting against Communist Russia Not a member of the Politburo

8 Recovery and Peace 1921 – 1927 –1921 Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement –1922 Treaty of Rapallo –1923 Curzon Ultimatum over Central Asian communist adventures Threatened suspension of trade agreement –1924 USSR officially recognised by GB, France & Italy Forged Zinoviev Letter –COMINTERN urging propaganda in British Armed Forces –Victorious Conservatives cold shouldered USSR for a year –1926 Treaty of Berlin extended Treaty of Rapallo General Strike in Britain – Comintern involvement Socialism in One Country idea proposed by Stalin –1927 Chinese communists massacred by Chiang Kai Shek Diplomatic Relations suspended with Britain

9 M. M. Litvinov Foreign Commissar Chicherin’s deputy in 1920s Ex-Menshevik, Jewish –Married to a British woman Talented negotiator Proposed Disarmament first –Helps to defend USSR –Helps Communist Revolutions –Kellogg-Briand Pact Pro-British Anti-German Proposed Collective Security otherwise –In favour of League of Nations Joins in 1934 Not a member of the Politburo

10 Spanish Civil War Intervention or Non- Intervention? Second Republic established 1931 –Republicans, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, Separatists Traditional Nationalist Hostile –Army, Catholic Church, Landowners, Centralists Nazi Germany and Italy supported Nationalists Britain and France wanted to let Spain sort itself out. Stalin’s dilemma? –What should he do?

11 Reasons to intervene Ideological battle –Communism versus Fascism Soviet Security –Keep Germany and Italy busy –Help Natural anti-German ally France from being surrounded by Fascists Fight Trotskyites –Trotskyite Communists were flocking to Spain to show a viable alternative form of Communism from Stalinism Military practice –Allow hardware and tactics to be tried out on the battlefield Prestige –Be seen as standing up to the forces of Fascism

12 Reasons not to intervene Strategic Concerns –Spain is far from Soviet borders Reaction of Italy and Germany –Force the two countries closer together in an Anti- Communist crusade Reaction of Britain and France –A successful communist intervention might scare Britain and France closer to Germans –Show disregard for League of Nations and of collective security Domestic Concerns –Busy with anti-Trotskyite Purges Military in particular –Five year plans less successful than hoped for –USSR not prepared for sustained war of any kind

13 Stalin’s Decision Limited “Secret” Intervention –Can help fight Fascists but avoid any blame if intervention fails (or succeeds) –Particularly worried about the position of France Helping to keep France ‘Democratic’ and not fall into hands of Fascists. NKVD directed to control Comintern activities –Channel funds –Ship goods secretly Via neutral countries –Kindly volunteer to look after Spanish Gold Reserves –Caballero Letter, 1936 Calm down Communist demands –No social or economic radicalism –Foreign property to be respected –Attract non-communist sympathisers

14 Was it worth it? Positives –4 th largest Gold Reserves in the world –Seen Fascist Equipment and Tactics in Operation –Limited Trotskyism as an international alternative to Stalinism Negatives –Failed to save Republican Spain –Seen Fascist Equipment and Tactics in Operation –Ruthless Communist tactics revealed to the world Infighting and purges discredited Communism –Serving Officers and Diplomats were ‘tainted’ by exposure to Trotskyite ideas Most executed or re-educated on return Experiences wasted –Britain and France less than impressed by their potential ally Nail in coffin of Litvinov’s collective security philosophy

15 What! No Chair for me?

16 Czechoslovakian Crisis Stalin’s last attempt at Collective Security –Willing to consider aiding Czechs –However, No Physical border with Czechs Polish antipathy –French and British allied to Poles –Allies found it frustrating dealing with one dictator let alone a second. –Allies suspicious of Communist motives after Spanish Civil War debacle –Mussolini was supposed to be the neutral Referee – hostile to USSR Lessons learnt –Stalin – Trust no-one USSR must look after its own security –Hitler – The Allies are weak and divided –Chamberlain and Briand – Allies made to look ridiculous – determination not to be pushed around again Reaffirm Polish treaties –Further antagonises Stalin

17 Molotov Foreign Commissar Replaced anti-German Litvinov –Litvinov had failed to cement deal with British and French Stalin stooge –The ultimate Yes Man Leader of Comintern from 1929 Member of Politburo Stalin’s Deputy

18 The Nazi Soviet Pact The most startling diplomatic event of the 1930s One week before Second World War Treaty of Neutrality –Secret Additional Protocol Carved up hated Poland and marked out spheres of influence in Eastern Europe Why –Relative weakness of Russian Armed Services 1938 purge of Red Army –Japan border disputes Open warfare in Siberia One enemy at a time Worried at being surrounded –Relative ineffectiveness of Five year plans Not delivering fully advertised output –Need more time to deal with German army –Create a Buffer zone for added defence against German Army –Not yet fully aware of capabilities of German Army Pre-Blitzkrieg Hopes France and Germany will fight long drawn out attritional war a la WWI –Begrudging Respect for Hitler and Nazi regime –After Czechoslovakia Realised that he cold not rely on Capitalist British and French


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